Webinars – What they Are and Why Use Them

With the rise of live streaming and other real time viewing tools, webinars have become one of the most popular ways to up-skill, inform and/or educate a group of people that are in geographically different locations. The cost savings of using this format are obvious as are the convenience benefits for those hosting and attending. As a result more and more people are comfortable learning and interacting with a business, new or known to them, in this format.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar is a live web-based video-conference that uses the internet to connect the individual hosting the webinar to their audience, who are the viewers and listeners of the webinar from any location. Hosts can show themselves speaking, switch to their computer screens for slideshows or demonstrations, and even invite guests from other locations to co-host the webinar with them.

Webinars can be conducted in a variety of formats and can be a platform where: one person hosts a lecture or presentation to teach something; an interactive discussion that invites immediate response and feedback; a sales environment or pitch; or an interview panel.

Webinars are also a brilliant way to increase brand presence, engage with your product community, build traffic to your website, and promote your product and services with the aim of converting leads to improve sales. This brings us to the next question, why use them?

Attract Targeted Traffic to Your Website and Sales Platforms 

Webinars are an amazing way to build traffic to your website and as the rule of ecommerce goes, you need traffic to generate leads and you need leads to generate sales. Often companies report that when they start using webinars, traffic to their site increases. Webinars will only do this if people are interested in attending them so an in-demand and relevant topic is essential to attract sign ups as well as an expert host where possible.

As those people who are attending have actually signed up to attend of their own choice the possible sales return is excellent if the webinar is conducted professionally. Effort must be placed into promoting the webinar to get people to sign up and this can be done through promoting directly to your database, blogging, Facebook and through other social media platforms, advertising to like-minded audiences.

It is also possible to record webinars as people who have missed the live event or want to view it again can visit your site through a link and watch it again. This can be forwarded on to a much wider audience and as such the webinar continues to work for you even once it is finished. The potential here is limitless.

Build Your Brand

A strong brand is incredibly influential in the decision making process of consumers and clients. A strong brand portrays quality, professionalism, expertise, authority and trust. A brand is in itself a selling tool.

By using webinars a business is able to conduct a strong brand building experience to a captive audience. It allows a company to provide clear and concise answers to questions potential clients may have and be an expert and a problem solver to their problem. It also provides an interactive platform through which a brand is able to communicate why their product or service is the best.

There is no other marketing tool like webinars for building authority and perceived expertise. A webinar provides the opportunity to talk to your audience and convince them of your expertise within your field, and the quality of your service or product in it. Webinars also allow you to showcase all your brand has to offer in an interesting and dynamic manner as designed by you and in a real time environment. You are able to respond immediately to what is of interest to them.

Generating leads and Building Trust and Value in Your Community 

To sign up for a webinar a participant must leave their details including their email address. They are happy to do this because they believe there is value in what they are signing up to. So in addition to lead generation, webinars nurture leads, as a person who signs up for a webinar has indicated by this action that they are interested in your product or service or the information you have to share. During the webinar, you are able to provide further and more detailed information with links back to your site. Afterwards, you are able to follow up with direct emails and as this person has already shown interest, it is likely they will be more willing to convert. Therefore leads generated via webinars are often high quality and strong.

Convenience is Key

One of the best things about webinars is that they are easy and convenient for participants and that they can attend from wherever is best for them. The participants can be in the comfort of their own home, or at their office or even on the road while they’re there with you. This raises attendance and allows them to interact with you on their terms. It’s a good way to start a conversation with a potential client.

They are Cost and Time Effective

Webinars are a great way to cost-effectively and time-effectively deliver marketing out to the masses without you even having to leave your office. It’s all done over the computer and the same webinar can be conducted to several different audiences and therefore can be used time and time again.

The Verdict

With proper planning and a desirable and relevant topic, webinars are a cost effective and fantastically convenient way to build your brand authority, generate leads that are likely to result in sales, and increase traffic to your website. Effort is required, both in developing and designing them plus their promotion, but if done well they will create dividends for the future.

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Margot Stolle

Margot Stolle is a marketing professional with over 15 years experience within several different industries including: sports and events sponsorship; business and financial planning; and fashion. She also owns and manages her own brand of children's sleepwear which is e-retailed and has experience in designing and editing websites and managing social media platforms.

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